Cunningham wants clarity from energy firm

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BALLYCASTLE councillor Dónal Cunningham (SDLP) has called on oil and gas exploration company Rathlin Energy to clarify their position with regard to their plans for any new exploration well within the onshore Rathlin Basin.

Councillor Cunningham said: “We are aware that following the analysis of results from the 2008 Ballinlea well, the company intends to seek permission for a new exploration well with drilling likely to take place early 2014.

“I would call on the company to make clear from their geological evidence and seismic data what their intentions for development are.

“Bearing in mind that that the Environment Minister Alex Attwood has warned against a headlong rush in to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and that Council and the local community have both voiced their opposition to fracking - the onus must be on the company state if this forms part of their plans.”

Fracking involves the pumping of large amounts of water (from local supplies) and chemicals at high pressure to release gas.

Added the councillor: “We need to promote the two tidal energy projects planned for the area off Fair Head and Torr Head and not be going after more risky energy sources. In advance of any application for development the local community needs to hear from Rathlin Energy.”